It may be a long shot but the Cubs should consider making a big free-agent splash this winter.
There will be plenty to talk about when it comes to this Chicago Cubs roster once the postseason concludes. Will mastermind Theo Epstein find a new home, leaving the future of this club in the hands of a fresh face?
Which member(s) of the core will receive a contract extension? Who will be on the outside looking in if there aren’t enough resources to keep them all onboard? These questions will soon receive answers and honestly, I am terrified.
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I can only imagine how skipper David Ross feels having to be the man in the middle. If it were up to Ross, everybody would be staying put. He knows what these guys are capable of having won a World Series title with most of the current roster in 2016.
Another man that could be on his way out would be his longtime teammate, Jon Lester. Lester, 36, has a $10 million buy-out for 2021. He signed a six-year, $155 million deal which also included a $30 million signing bonus.
Since his arrival, Jon has been a reliable starter for Chicago, often redeeming himself from whatever horrific outing he had prior.
With $25 million of base salary sitting on the table and him getting up there in age, is Lester really on his way out? Now, if the Cubs opted to cut him loose, it would leave a massive hole in their starting rotation.
While Alec Mills had himself a decent short seasoned campaign, taking a look at who will be available wouldn’t be a terrible idea. One name that stands out immediately? Current National League Cy Young front-runner, Trevor Bauer. Yes, the man who pitched for the Cleveland Indians during the 2016 World Series.
If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Bauer has found new life in his first “full” year as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. In 11 starts, the 30-year-old right-hander leads the National League in ERA (1.73), strikeouts (100), and WHIP (0.79).
Not to mention, opposing hitters have failed to hit .160 against him. Heading into free agency, Bauer will be the best starting pitching option available other than 29-year-old Marcus Stroman.
This season, Bauer has yielded three earned runs in 13 frames pitched against the Cubs. His September 9 performance featured seven 2/3 scoreless frames in a Reds shutout win. Both he and Yu Darvish are strong candidates to earn their first Cy Young honors.
The odds of the Chicago Cubs signing Bauer may be slim. However, checking in with his camp wouldn’t hurt. You never know how a player feels. Who wouldn’t want to represent such a historic franchise and call Wrigley Field home?
Whether it is Theo Epstein or whoever takes his place, they should strongly consider entertaining the idea of adding Bauer to Ross’ rotation.